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Today there was a power outage due to a power pole replacement on our street. We had been notified by letter a couple of weeks ago, which was cool, and I put it aside in the other paperwork that needs attending to.

When the power when out at 8.30am, as notified, I first went out of my office to blame the au pair’s (yes, we are currently blessed with two as our au pairs’ sister is here to help her out with the whole broken arm situation) for shorting something electrical out in the kitchen. Our pair of au pairs had nothing to do with it!

Without power though, we were all completely flummoxed by what to do. Luckily the kettle was freshly boiled, but I hadn’t had the forethought to make a smoothie, charge the laptop, and print out all the stuff I planned to work on today or generally manage at all without power. Of course, the solar power system on the roof of the house isn’t set up to work without mains power, but I won’t even start on how ridiculous I think that is!

It made me realise how completely dependent we are on electricity and everything connected to that, for me especially the whole computer/wifi and preparing food business. My phone still worked, but other than that I was COMPLETELY useless. The thought of writing out the email I needed to type seemed like a waste of time, attempting to do internet banking wasn’t much fun, and I couldn’t have a second cup of tea when the first one got cold).

It seemed like there was no other choice but to go out and do some boring jobs I’d been putting off for ages. The funny thing was that downtown was all in a flummox too because there was a massive main water pipe leak, which was under repair in the main street. This meant that all the adjoining streets were blocked off, there were men standing around every where wearing high vis and doing what appeared to be not much, it took me about 15 minutes to find a park so I could walk down the deserted street to go to the bank and do a boring job. And that made me realise how dependent we are on cars, and water (the poor ladies at the bank had to use a very publically located porta-loo if they needed to “go”) and the general running of what we consider our basic services.

And I used to live on a farm, where the power went out and the phone went off at the slight sniff of stormy weather. We had a diesel-powered generator to cover power during such emergencies, but it had to be started with a crank handle, and as mad as I got with I COULD NOT start it. Luckily, generally, there was a bloke around who could do it for me, and that would at least restore basic services (even though I would still be mad at my inability to make it go). The phone would be out for days. I’m not sure how I survived those times – but there were many times I was grateful  wasn’t born in the era of no air conditioning and ice-box fridges. I’m sure we would have survived, but I’ve reached a stage where I’m incredibly indignant if the internet is slow. Spoilt. Very bloody spoilt.

When I got home from the boring jobs, the Swedish pair and Miss 3 were all at a loss with what to do, and me too, so I ended up watching Barbie and the mermaids on the IPad with Miss 3 (fortunately it had been charged up). Then the weirdest thing happened. I heard the washing machine going, and then the au pairs went completely crazy cleaning the kitchen, the fridge, the oven, the craft corner, EVERYTHING. I made a smoothie; nit washed Miss 3 before she headed off to her Dad’s for the weekend, and then I WENT CRAZY in the office. I have sorted out the last 4 months of bills and accounts for 2 businesses and our family into files, emailed all the people with all the queries I needed to sort out (some of which I found in the paperwork with the power outage notification), and made a very efficient looking list for my next visit to the office shop.

Disconnecting was probably the best thing I did all day. From 8.30am until about 2pm we did something else. And then everything (just about) we planned to do all day, we did in the last 2 hours.

Amazing what you can fit into two power-filled hours. Powerful indeed. I’m going to try it again next week.


Author Fleur

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